Friday, August 15, 2008

COBOL Back From the Dead

As a former long-time COBOL Programmer/Analyst, I had such fun reading the article about COBOL, Back from the Dead, and the comments were lively and on target.

Being a COBOL programmer was never exactly cool, and you sure as hell got no respect from the bleeding edge part of the tech community, but I wrote some good systems and programming COBOL always paid the rent right up until I boogied out after Y2K and went into supporting a direct sales catalog and web system, which was a whole new life and paid the rent for eight more years until I retired to write full time.

With a little IBM Assembler and a mastery of COBOL and CICS, you could create huge systems that had that big mainframe reliability, systems for big time transaction processing. And it was always fun to put that Big Blue machine through its paces. I loved trying Go To . . . Depending On, and String and Unstring and having indexed tables search other indexed tables, maybe putting a little bubble sort in when needed. I could do anything, and I must say that there are some writing and cooking and for sure gardening techniques that I've never mastered as I mastered COBOL.

Once I took a kludgey old system and cut the processing time from 24 to 2 hours. Shit, I was good.

So here's to you, Grace Hopper, Admiral and Inventor. It was a great ride while it lasted.

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